Man Accidentally Buys Pair of Identical Lottery Tickets, Wins Two Jackpots: ‘I Couldn’t Believe It’

A man in North Carolina accidentally bought a pair of identical tickets for the same lottery drawing and won two prizes of $25,000 a year for the rest of his life.

Forty-nine-year-old Scotty Thomas of Fayetteville told the North Carolina Education Lottery he was thinking about the Lucky for Life drawing but could not remember if he had already purchased a ticket, UPI reported Wednesday.

“I was just laying in bed watching a basketball game on TV and I couldn’t remember if I filled it out or not,” Thomas, who is a dump truck operator, stated.

“I went ahead and filled it out again and the next morning my son asked why there were two different amounts listed. I realized, ‘I think I filled it out twice,’” he added.

According to the lottery’s website, he got two emails because he bought the tickets through the lottery’s Online Play program on his phone.

Winners are notified by email when they win.

“When I realized I won, I had to lay down on the floor because I really just couldn’t believe it,” Thomas recalled. “It’s just a blessing.”

However, when he got to lottery headquarters to collect his big winnings, he had one decision to make.

“At age 49, he could take both prizes as annuities, receiving a total of $50,000 every year for the rest of his life. He could take one prize as an annuity – $25,000 a year for life – and the second as a lump sum of $390,000. Or, he could take both as lump-sum prizes of $390,000 each,” the lottery’s website read.

He chose to take both prizes in lump sum payments which was $780,000, because he plans to invest in his business, pay off several bills, help his family members, and maybe buy a home.

After federal and state tax withholdings, he walked away with $551,851.

Social media users congratulated Thomas on his big win, one person writing, “Att’a boy, lighting does strike twice in one place!”

“The best accident of his life! Congratulations,” another user commented.

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Anonymous Donation Will Help Tampa Bay Military Families, Vets with Holiday Needs

An anonymous donor gifted an undisclosed sum to nonprofit organization Soldiers’ Angels to help Tampa Bay area military and veteran families this holiday season.

Soldiers Angels’ is a national nonprofit with the mission “to provide aid, comfort, and resources to the military, veterans, and their families,” states the organization’s website. The nonprofit was founded in 2003 by members of General George Patten’s family, WFLA reports.

During the holiday season, Soldiers’ Angels Adopt-A-Family program “helps businesses, organizations, and individuals support qualified military and veteran families that could use some help providing a holiday celebration for their families.”

At a minimum, families will receive gifts for each child and a grocery gift card to assist families with purchasing a holiday meal.

An anonymous donor provided the organization with an undisclosed amount of money to benefit military and veteran families in specific markets, including Tampa Bay, according to WFLA.

President and CEO of Soldiers’ Angels Amy Palmer told the outlet that the area is getting a lot of assistance this holiday season.

“Initially, we had an anonymous donation that wanted to target specific markets. Tampa was one of those markets,” she said. “But since then, we’ve had other donors [in] Tampa, specifically, I think because of the outreach in Tampa [and those] that have come forward and wanted to support Tampa.”

Palmer, who is an Air Force veteran, added:

It’s a great opportunity for a small business or a church or a civic group to adopt a family, because they can work together to to take a local family. We have a lot of small businesses that will take one family or two families, and then they’ll each bring things together to support that family, which is really great. It’s a great opportunity to serve.

Though the program is meant to be supplemental, Palmer acknowledged that the Adopt-A-Family might be all that some have this holiday season.

“Sadly, in some cases, it may be their only holiday meal,” she told WFLA. “We’ve actually had some people that have registered, for the gift items for their kids, that listed undergarments and pajamas and kind of essential things, versus toys, because the kids need those items.”

The organization welcomes more sponsors, and donors can pick and choose what market they wish to participate in:

They can go and search by zip code and find local families or even national families… We have people who adopt families from all over the country. They don’t necessarily have to be in that local market, so we do still encourage people to to go to our website if they’re interested in adopt a family.

Qualified families can apply for the program until the December 10 registration deadline.

Eligibility includes:

  • To be eligible for this program as a family of a deployed service member, the service member must be:
    • Registered currently with Soldiers’ Angels for Deployed Support
    • E1 through E6
    • Not scheduled to return from deployment prior to December 25, 2021
    • Demonstrate financial need
  • To be eligible for this program as a family of a Post 9-11 wounded, ill, or injured service member or veteran, the service member or veteran must have:
    • Proof of wound, illness, or injury
    • Demonstrate financial need
  • To be eligible for this program as a family enrolled in the HUD/VASH program, the veteran family must be:
    • Enrolled in the HUD/VASH program
    • Complete a letter of eligibility with your HUD/VASH caseworker that will validate eligibility and demonstrate financial need

The organization assisted roughly 1,500 families in 2020, and it hopes to reach around 1,700 families in 2021, according to WFLA.

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